Persistent depression in pregnant refugee and migrant women living along the Thai-Myanmar Border: a secondary qualitative analysis.
Ashley-Norman T., Fellmeth G., Brummaier T., Nosten S., Oo MM., Phichitpadungtham Y., Wai K., Khirikoekkong N., Plugge E., McGready R.
Background Antepartum depression affects around 15% of pregnant women worldwide, and may negatively impact their infants' physical, cognitive and social development, and confer a greater risk of emotional dysregulation in their children. Risk factors for antepartum depression disproportionately affect women from resource-sparse settings. In particular, pregnant refugee and migrant women face many barriers to diagnosis and care of mental health conditions, yet this group is under-represented in the literature. This study explores what refugee and migrant women living along the Thai-Myanmar border perceive as being contributory and protective factors to their antepartum depression, through secondary qualitative analysis of responses to clinical interviews for depression. Methods Previous research investigating perinatal depression in pregnant refugee and migrant women on the Thai-Myanmar border involved assessing 568 women for depression, using the Structured Clinical Interview for the diagnosis of DSM-IV Disorders (SCID). This study analyses a subsample of 32 women, diagnosed with persistent depression during the antepartum period. Thematic analysis of responses to the SCID and social and demographic surveys was undertaken to investigate factors which contribute towards, or protect against, persistent antepartum depression. Results Major themes which women described as contributing towards persistent antepartum depression were financial problems, interpersonal violence, substance misuse among partners, social problems and poor health. Factors women considered as protecting mental wellbeing included social support, accessible healthcare and distractions, highlighting the need for focus on these elements within refugee and migrant settings. Commonly expressed phrases in local Karen and Burmese languages were summarised. Conclusions Knowledge of factors affecting mental wellbeing in the study population and how these are phrased, may equip stakeholders to better support women in the study area. This study highlighted the limitations of contextually generic diagnostic tools, and recommends the development of tools better suited to marginalised and non-English speaking groups.